One bad picture can spoil the impression of even the coolest interior design. At the same time, a professional picture is quite capable of transforming a modest room into a model of style. I will share some tips that helped me to improve my interior photography skill. And I hope these tips will help you to photograph the interiors so that they will look on your pics as delightful as the creations of the world’s best designers.
To make any room look cozy and inviting, it should give the impression of a living place. Even if it is a showroom, you still have to add a few elements of everyday life, not just décor. When you take pictures of a dining room or a kitchen, be sure to add a few familiar items for these interiors. You can even use colorful vegetables or fruits to emphasize the interior’s color palette, but be sure to ask the designer about it. Each living room can be rejuvenated with bouquets and houseplants. Assorted books in the master bedroom give this room a character. Another example, the lit fireplace and lamps make the viewer think that the owner came out for a moment and is about to return. Bathrooms are best decorated with textiles and hygiene items, such as hand cream or shampoos in stylish vials. All these little things create a natural feel for any apartment or a house. Usually, you have a designer being present in the room during the photoshoot. So, he or she can prepare specific items beforehand to make all rooms look extra chic.
Accessories for shooting
Camera and lenses are not the only things you need for an interior photoshoot. A tripod is a must-have to shoot with a long exposure. You can try to use your hands in some situations, but it is rare when you need to do that. Often enough, there won’t be enough light in the room. You’ll find yourself using f8 with a low ISO setting most of the time, and even when it’s a sunny day, you’ll need slow shutter speeds like 1/15 to 1/2 or even slower. Also, some spaces, such as bathrooms or pantries, do not have windows, and studio flashlights are not suitable for these locations, they’re too bulky. Therefore, it does not hurt to have an external flash ready. And picking up additional batteries for the camera is always a good idea. As in landscape photography, polarizing filters are often used for interiors to fight glares. This is especially important for rooms with furniture that has many shiny surfaces.
Use wide-angle lenses
From time to time, you’ll be tasked to take pictures of apartments or houses with spacious rooms. Wide-angle lenses (14-24 mm) will help you in this task. Remember that only premium lenses are sharp on the edges, but these lenses are awfully pricey. So, it is always a good idea just to rent these. Otherwise, if you have a cheaper lens, try to shoot as wide as you can, so you could crop the picture a bit in post-production to hide the soft edges the lens produces. You also don’t need to capture every detail. Our wonderous brain will fill in the gaps, so half a piece of furniture will work fine in a picture.
Shoot from medium height
The picture of the room is always affected by a point of view. If you shoot a room from the top, the size of almost any item will be distorted. Therefore, professional interior photographers usually set their camera’s shooting height around 4 to 5 feet, it’s about the level of the waist or chest. The majority of furniture items on the picture will have visually proper proportions. Think of it like this, your pictures should resemble how an artist would sketch a room. A wider viewing angle helps to see how the interior objects interact with each other.
Sometimes you can deviate from this recommendation to intentionally show the height or scale of things. However, this is more suitable for a batch of photos for creative use. Remember, the primary purpose of interior photos is to sell or rent the place successfully, or pictures should showcase the designer’s work. Creative pictures can be used for social media, usually, your client will tell you to shoot something unique or fun, then you’ll be able to experiment.
Interior photography’s heart of the composition is the lines, both straight and curved. If you divide the frame into 9 squares (remember the rule of thirds), you can match the main lines of the object to the lines of the 3×3 grid. For example, you have the table and the cupboard behind it. Match the bottom line of the grid with the table’s horizontal lines, and the cupboard’s vertical lines to the vertical lines of the grid. This is the easiest way to that is to use Live-View on your camera. I’d say to have straight vertical lines on the edge of a picture is necessary. It gives every picture a sense of balance.
Light and color
In the interior photography it is very important to convey the color correctly. Every object’s color and placement in a room, from ceiling to rug is the result of the designer’s meticulous work. Any additional lighting may cast different colors on objects, so that’s why natural light is mostly used during the photosession. You can ask the designer for the exact color palette used to cross-reference it during post-production. You can use different lamps to create some atmospheric or evening pictures, if that is required of you.
Using HDR is the best tool for interior photography to avoid overexposed areas in the picture. I usually use bracketing mode to create 7 pictures with 0.5 exposure correction. It means you take one picture with normal exposure, three underexposed pictures, and three overexposed. Photoshop and Lightroom have built-in tools to merge these 7 pictures into one. It is a fairly easy, but powerful tool.
Shoot general plans and details
The overall impression of a room is created not only by wide-angle shots but also with the help of the details. Like in any genre of photography, it is necessary to focus on different characteristics, where it is a person or an object. When we work with a designer, we can get the info on what inspired the whole work, what elements make any particular room exclusive. Ask a designer you work with what piece of furniture or décor should be included in the picture set.
Always choose the central element
Generally speaking, this is the task of the designer: entering the room, you should immediately notice one of the most outstanding details. Your duty as a photographer is to show it to the viewer. Make this element the center of the composition of your picture. It should immediately grab any viewer’s attention, and then the viewer will be engrossed to inspect other details and the project as a whole.
Beginner’s Guide to Interior Photography
Thanks for reading our post on the Beginner’s Guide to Interior Photography! Everyone can learn how to shoot like a professional. Share in the comments: what techniques and tips you want us to share in the next article?